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Ex-MSU basketball coach leases 16th Section land

OKTIBBEHA COUNTY — Former Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury and a business partner will lease about 312 acres of 16th Section school land in Oktibbeha County for $31,290 annually.

The county school board had rejected an earlier proposal involving 400 acres from Stansbury and partner John Barnett because the rental fee was too low.

The Commercial Dispatch reports Stansbury and Barnett have not said what they will do with the property. The lease runs for 25 years.

The property includes Oktibbeha County Lake and a campground area featuring campsites, boat ramps, and picnic areas.

The land was once leased by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. The agency gave up the property to the local school system in April after declining to renew its lease.

Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors President Orlando Trainer said now that the school district’s portion is leased, the supervisors need to find someone to sign a lease for the remainder of the 16th section land — about 95 acres — near the lake.

Trainer said Stansbury and Barnett have been invited to talk with the board of supervisors about the remaining acreage.

“Hopefully we can come to some sort of an agreement,” Trainer said. “If we don’t, then it will leave us in somewhat of a quagmire … managing that land is a big responsibility.”

The 16th Section of each 36-square-mile township belongs to the schools and must be used for the benefit of public education. The leaseholders may own the buildings or houses but not the land they are on. They can lease the property and must pay property taxes.

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